(CBS) Young Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber will get another taste of the big leagues.
With starting catcher Miguel Montero dealing with a left thumb injury, Chicago will call up the 22-year-old Schwarber from Triple-A Iowa ahead of their game Friday at Atlanta, according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo.READ MORE: R. Kelly Found Guilty Of All Counts In Sex Trafficking, Racketeering Trial
Schwarber had a successful cameo with the Cubs in June in interleague play, primarily serving as a designated hitter. During that stretch, he hit .364 with a homer and six RBIs in six games. The Cubs then sent him to Triple-A, where he’s hit .333 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 17 games. The primary purpose of Schwarber going back to Triple-A was so he could improve his catching skills, which are a work in progress and have some believing his long-term position in the majors is elsewhere.
It’s not yet known what Schwarber’s role will be with the Cubs, who still have two healthy catchers in Taylor Teagarden and David Ross. He does have experience playing the outfield in the past as well.READ MORE: Chicago Collegiate High School Student Facing Possible Charges After Bringing Loaded Gun To School
At Double-A Tennessee earlier this season, Schwarber hit .320 with 13 homers, 39 RBIs and a 1.017 OPS in 58 games. On Sunday, he was named the MVP of the Futures Game in Cincinnati after hitting a two-run triple.
Montero will go on the disabled list and be sidelined for at least several weeks, according to reports. He’s also expected to see a hand specialist soon. Montero suffered what the team initially called a jammed left thumb last Saturday in a loss against the White Sox, and it has turned into a serious issue now. If Montero’s out for a long stretch, it could pave the way for Schwarber to remain on the team all season, as rosters are expanded in September.
Speaking in mid-June, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein kept open the possibility that Schwarber could play in the outfield — though he spoke with a healthy Montero in mind at the time.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Fast Temperature Drop Monday Afternoon
“We may reach a point that he has caught enough near the end of the year,” Epstein said in mid-June. “We then can maybe mix in some other responsibilities for him. Maybe he is a factor for September up here. Right now the priority is for him to continue to develop as a catcher.”